Chelsea 1-0 MOL Vidi AS IT HAPPENED: Alvaro Morata scores Europa League winner | Football | Sport

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Morata missed a host of chances in the opening Group L win at PAOK in Greece two weeks ago and spurned a glorious opportunity in the first half.

The 25-year-old made amends with 20 minutes to go, but only after Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri had turned to Eden Hazard in a bid to break a deadlock which stood due to the Blues’ wasteful finishing.

Ross Barkley, another substitute, headed Hazard’s free-kick against the crossbar when Chelsea were 1-0 up, but there were anxious moments before the Blues secured a second win from two games.

CHELSEA 1-0 MOL VIDI | MORATA (70)

Chelsea XI: Kepa, Zappacosta, Cahill, Christensen, Emerson, Fabregas, Kovacic, Loftus-Cheek, Pedro, Willian, Morata

MOL Vidi XI: Tujvel, Fiola, Vinicius, Juhasz, Stopira, Anel Hadzic, Nego, Huszti, Marko Scepovic, Milanov, Nikolov

  • Ruben Loftus-Cheek starts for Chelsea, Ross Barkley on bench
  • Alvaro Morata misses a sitter
  • Loftus-Cheek denied clear penalty
  • Eden Hazard replaces Pedro, Barkley on for RLC
  • Alvaro Morata ends goal-drought

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge (Image: REUTERS)

‘Job done’

22:05: Chelsea captain Gary Cahill: “It is job done. Games like that are difficult but it is important we are motivated. We tried and tried and got what we deserved. They sat back and frustrated us. We missed a few chances but Alvaro Morata scored the goal to win us the game.

“I am sure for every striker, scoring goals gives them confidence. Morata made some good runs tonight and delighted to see him hit the back of the net. He has scored many goals and were are delighted we won.

“It looked a stonewall penalty for a challenge on Ruben Loftus-Cheek, definitely from where I was. He was brought down from behind and they got away with that one. I want to play football out on the pitch. I am not different to anyone else and the ambition never changes. I am delighted to have the armband back on and it is good feeling.

“We have to refocus. The manager can rotate the team which helps and we have to recover for the next game against Southampton before the international break. We want to top the group and push on in the competition. Like the Premier League, it is vitally important for us.”

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge (Image: GETTY)

CHELSEA 1-0 MOL VIDI

FT: Well, it’s difficult to know what to say about this one. Chelsea did just about enough to collect three points against a dogged MOL Vidi, who were actually quite unlucky not to score tonight.

Still, another clean sheet, another 1-0 win and another three points for Maurizio Sarri’s side. Next up, Southampton on Sunday.

92: Now this is dangerous. Vidi have themselves a free-kick on the right touchline and they load the box. It’s sent in… but Alvaro Morata is back to do his defensive duties.

90: Three minutes of added time.

89:  “Shoooooooot,” the Chelsea fans shout at Ross Barkley, but his effort is blocked before it could do any damage. Not scored for 17 months has the former Everton midfielder.

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge (Image: REUTERS)

87: Close! Alvaro Morata nearly has himself a second but after a weaving run to the byline, he’s sent his angled effort wide.

84: Chelsea nearly punished for their complacency! Kovacs is slipped in down the right before cutting inside and forcing a great save from Kepa. Moses was alert enough to send the rebound into orbit.

82: This has been very similar to Chelsea’s first Europa League clash against PAOK. The Blues are doing enough without ever really getting out of first gear.

79: Woodwork! Chelsea are close to getting their second as Ross Barkley glances a free-kick against the crossbar. He’s looking like the star player that broke through at Everton a few years ago. Good for him.

76: Alvaro Morata scored his first Europa League goal of the season with his 14th shot and with only his second on target.

73: Chelsea make their third change with Victor Moses replacing Willian for the closing stages. Vidi won’t be happy about that, the winger is full of running.

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge (Image: GETTY)

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge (Image: REUTERS)

CHELSEA 1-0 MOL VIDI | MORATA

70: Heavens! Alvaro Morata has silenced the doubters (including myself) with a really well-taken goal inside the Vidi penalty area.

Cesc Fabregas sees the run of Willian, who knocks the header into Morata’s path and the Spanish international converts with a sweet first-time half-volley.

Floodgates to open?

69: Alvaro Morata booked for dissent. He was upset about some robust marking from a corner, but the referee isn’t too fond of his protest.

Barkley is straight into the action and fires a sighter at Tujvel from distance. Saved.

66: Maurizio Sarri makes his second change of the evening as Ross Barkley replaces Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who did well and should have won a penalty for his side.

The Chelsea fans give their talented midfielder a generous round of applause as he leaves the field. Can Barkley net on the same day as his recall to the England squad?

63: Tell you what, Vidi are going for this now and they look like they’ve got a goal in their locker! Milanov draws in three Chelsea defenders on the right flank before slightly over-cooking his pass to the unmarked Nikolov.

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge (Image: REUTERS)

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge (Image: REUTERS)

60: Chelsea are annihilating MOL Vidi in the passes completed count. It’s 401 vs 82… do they get extra points for that?

Anyway, Vidi launch a rare attack in Chelsea territory before eventually slicing a shot high and wide.

57: Huge expectation around Stamford Bridge as Eden Hazard steps up to deliver a free-kick from the right… straight out of play. Not the best from the Belgian.

54: Blimey, there’s no messing around from Maurizio Sarri, who brings Eden Hazard on after just 54 minutes. That’s a clear sign the Italian hasn’t been happy with his sides display. Pedro heads off.

51: And another chance goes begging. I don’t want to sound like I’m picking on Alvaro Morata but I can’t ignore his missed efforts. Willian’s free-kick is arched but the Spaniard doesn’t dive in and the chance goes begging.

48: Wooosh! MOL Vidi nearly stun Stamford Bridge shortly after the break as Nego fizzes one across Kepa, who does well to parry it away. Visitors are growing in belief.

CHELSEA 0-0 MOL VIDI

45: And we’re back underway folks. No changes for either side. Chelsea have an unexpected test here and Maurizio Sarri probably won’t want to call on Eden Hazard to bail his side out.

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge (Image: REUTERS)

Twitter round-up

Sibs: Romelu Lukaku isn’t perfect, but I’m so glad we signed him instead of Alvaro Morata. Think he’s doing badly at Chelsea?! Imagine if he was in our team.

Vaishali Bhardwaj: The look on Olivier Giroud’s face when Alvaro Morata received the ball from Pedro but somehow contrived to fire wide was priceless.

Dylan: Chelsea spent 60 million English pounds on Alvaro Morata.

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge (Image: REUTERS)

CHELSEA 0-0 MOL VIDI

HT: Willian sends a free-kick wide on the stroke of half time. That was a terrific half for the neutral. Alvaro Morata squandered the best opportunity of the match and Ruben Loftus-Cheek was denied a clear penalty.

A frustrating half for Chelsea, who had nine shots.

44: It’s all kicking off now! Nego shrugs off Emerson but with just Kepa to beat, his effort is tame and easy to save. Bless, he just completely panicked with the goal at his mercy.

43: Nearly a sucker-punch from MOL Vidi. Kepa and Christensen get into a muddle with neither prepared to come and collect the ball and Nikolov nearly nips in to poke home.

It’s the visitors turn to be outraged with the referee after contact between Cahill and Nikolov results in no penalty. It was a foul but perhaps a few inches outside the penalty area.

40: Penalty appeal! Loftus-Cheek again embarks on a surging run into the penalty area but this time he’s blatantly brought down and the referee waves play away. Looked a stonewall shout in my eyes.

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge (Image: GETTY)

38: Serious pressure from Chelsea now as we approach the break. The MOL Vidi fans don’t seem to care though – they are deafeningly loud. Perhaps that was a direct order from the Hungarian president, who lives in the same town as the Vidi stadium.

35: Nice powerful run from RLC, he glides into the penalty area before seeing his effort deflected wide for a corner, which Zappacosta would have converted if rugby posts were erected at Stamford Bridge.

33: Kepa, whose second name I can’t spell, goes down clutching his face after Milanov left a trailing leg. He’s fine but look angry that the referee didn’t reach for his car

30: We’ve reached the half-hour mark and surprisingly we’re goalless at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea are knocking around without any real urgency. They know they’ll make the breakthrough at some stage with MOL Vidi offering zilch in attack

28: Slip! Alvaro Morata’s eye light up as Willian lifts a delicate ball over the Vidi defence, but having spun his marker – Morata hits the deck and swipes at fresh air.

25: Pedro is looking sharp. He’s been sidelined for three matches but he’s straight up to speed with nice flicks, through balls and dummies.

 

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge (Image: REUTERS)

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge (Image: GETTY)

23: Apparently Chelsea haven’t won any of their last nine away matches after playing in Europe. That’s a terrible statistic for Maurizio Sarri, quite good for Mark Hughes though…

Emerson fancies his chances from 35-yards but thwacks his half-volley miles over.

20: I almost feel sorry for Alvar Morata these days, he simply can’t score! Pedro finds Morata with a lovely through ball and Morata only has the goalkeeper to beat but sends his effort off target. The Spaniard needs to end the drought sharpish!

18: Booked. Nego is booked for ripping the shirt off Loftus-Cheek’s back… literally! The midfielder strolls over to grab himself a new one, which is ready in seconds. Three cheers for the kit man, or lady…

15: Pedro and Willian combine to good effect inside the penalty area but having collected the return pass – Willian drags it wide.

13: It’s coming folks, I can feel it… Emerson slaloms past three defenders before opening his body and firing over the crossbar. The commentator says “that’s why he doesn’t score many,” but I think the left-back scored on his only start of the season against Liverpool last week!

10: Close! Vidi come so close to breaking the deadlock as their captain Juhasz rises highest and nods towards goal. Emerson is alert to head off the line.

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge (Image: REUTERS)

CHELSEA 0-0 MOL VIDI

8: “Oooooooh,” he says in a high-pitched tone. MOL Vidi with a serious warning shot after Marko Scepovic breaks clear down the left flank. His testing cross is poked out by Gary Cahill.

5: Just the 92 percent possession for Chelsea thus far. I suspect this is a damage limitations fixture for Mol Vidi tonight. Who can blame them I suppose – although a 2-0 defeat to BATE in their opener leaves them needing points.

3: Impressive turnout from Chelsea supporters tonight. It’s a packed house at Stamford Bridge with thousands happy to miss ITV’s flagship programme Manson: The Lost Tapes…

2: Chelsea have never lost a single home European match (excluding qualifiers) in a competition other than the Champions League (P35 W28 D7 L0). Should be a walkover, right?

CHELSEA 0-0 MOL VIDI

1: Hello everyone, sorry I’m late but there’s a dose of man flu going around at Express HQ and I’m the only survivor. Not blowing my own whistle but I thought you should know…

Anyway, we’re underway here at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have made a heap of changes but you wouldn’t have guessed it with the strength of Maurizio Sarri’s side.

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge (Image: CHELSEA)

Team news – Chelsea

18:55: Ruben Loftus-Cheek starts for Chelsea for the first time this season in the Europa League Group L clash with Hungarian champions Vidi.

Loftus-Cheek, who missed out on the England squad announced earlier on Thursday, was one of eight changes, making a belated start after two earlier substitute appearances and a subsequent shin injury.

Goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, midfielder Mateo Kovacic and forward Willian are the only players to retain their places following Saturday’s Premier League draw with Liverpool.

Chelsea XI…

18:50: A quick glance tells me that Maurizio Sarri has rested the vast majority of his first-team squad for tonight’s clash. Big chance for Ruben Loftus-Cheek to impress.

Chelsea XI: Kepa, Zappacosta, Cahill, Christensen, Emerson, Fabregas, Kovacic, Loftus-Cheek, Pedro, Willian, Morata.

Subs: Caballero, Ampadu, Alonso, Moses, Kante, Barkley, Hazard.

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge (Image: REUTERS)

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge (Image: REUTERS)

Evening…

18:45: Hello everyone, and welcome to our LIVE coverage of the Europa League.

This illustrious (I’m feeling generous) competition continues this evening with British quartet Arsenal, Celtic, Chelsea and Rangers all looking to navigate their way through the group stages.

Unai Emery’s Gunners are currently leading Qarabag 1-0 in Azerbaijan, while Chelsea host Hungarian outfit MOL Vidi at Stamford Bridge at 8pm.

On paper, this should be a routine evening for the Premier League pair – but football isn’t played on paper said my cliché-filled Under-16 coach.

OK, that’s the trip down memory lane covered. Let’s have the team news and line-ups.

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge

Chelsea vs MOL Vidi: Express Sport brings you LIVE Europa League coverage from Stamford Bridge (Image: GETTY)

CHELSEA vs MOL VIDI

Midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek is set to make his first Chelsea start of the season in Thursday’s Europa League Group L clash with Hungarian champions Vidi.

Loftus-Cheek has overcome a shin problem, while winger Pedro (shoulder) and defender Antonio Rudiger (groin) are fit again.

Head coach Maurizio Sarri is expected to make changes, with the likes of Gary Cahill, Andreas Christensen, Emerson Palmieri, Alvaro Morata and Cesc Fabregas likely to feature at some point.

Chelsea provisional squad: Kepa, Caballero, Rudiger, Alonso, Fabregas, Jorginho, Kante, Barkley, Hazard, Pedro, Moses, Kovacic, Giroud, Zappacosta, Willian, Cahill, Christensen, Azpilicueta, Morata, Luiz, Emerson Palmieri, Ampadu, Loftus-Cheek, Hudson-Odoi, Bulka.



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